- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Records Fall, Ribs Rise

You're not just reading the blog for Mets fans who like to read. You're reading the blog entry of a Mets fan who set a record Friday night — a personal record, but a record just the same. With the Mets' decisive victory over the Astros [1], I improved my 2009 home season mark to 24-10. Four times previously (including two regular season/postseason combos) I reached 23 wins. That was the heights. Now the heights have gotten higher.

Yes, in this otherwise cursed campaign, somebody's Log is filled with W's.

The Mets are 24-10 for me in 2009 with two games to go. They're 15-30 at home without me; 15-30 is the mark that got Joe Frazier fired in 1977, a year in which Mets didn't hit home runs in bunches, but more on that in a bit.

Even weirder in this otherwise godforsaken hellhole of a season, they've gone 5-0 for me on Friday nights. Friday nights in recent years, particularly late in those years, were the stuff of deathtraps [2] and suicide raps [3]. Not this year. This year of all years was my golden year at least one night a week. Then again, factor out Fridays and I was still a nifty 19-10.

I can't say Citi Field isn't, in its own way, trying to win me over.

Let us not forget John Maine. John Maine has started seven games in the young life of Citi Field. I have witnessed every single John Maine start at Citi Field. We're 6-1 together: an early loss followed by six consecutive wins. That makes him the first Mets pitcher to win six consecutive home starts in nineteen years.

So I saw that history. And I saw the 47th Met triple of the year, lashed by the heretofore presumed dead Nick Evans, tying a team record. Plus, as usually occurs around these Mets, there was the strange saga of Daniel Murphy.

After Jeff Francoeur hit his tenth Met home run in the sixth, I revealed to my friend Rob Emproto (with whom I kept alive a streak of fifteen consecutive seasons with at least one game attended together) that I hoped Murph's home run total would stay on eleven. He could triple all he wanted and score on an error, but I wanted no Met to mash a twelfth home run in '09. The lowest total for the team lead, as mentioned here recently [4], is twelve homers, accomplished (if you wanna call it that) by Stearns, Henderson and Milner in 1977. If you remember 1977, you remember it being very bad for the Mets, but more for a Seaver shortage [5] than a power shortage (Lenny Randle's July 13 [6] notwithstanding). This season, though? In this park? I thought 2009 deserved the dubious honor of having the fewest home runs hit by a team leader. Lotsa triples, no homers — perfect for a team with a great batting average and never enough scoring.

Murphy comes up as a pinch-hitter in the eighth with two out. Rob starts laughing. He can feel it. “This one's going over the Modell's sign,” he says. This is before Murph sees a pitch. It's just a hunch. Daniel takes ball one, ball two, ball three, yet I agree with Rob's assessment. Daniel Murphy, who was welcome to produce at will for the 150 or so games that I was unaware of this twelve home runs thing, is going to hit one out just because I — for my own admittedly bizarre reason — don't want him to.

Suddenly Daniel is Shawon Dunston from ten years ago [7], fouling 'em off left and right. The count is three and two for quite a while. Then, Doug Brocail, who I'm pretty sure is old enough to have played with John Milner, serves up a juicy one and…BAM! Waaaay gone to right.

Daniel Murphy is suddenly Adam Dunn. It's home Run No. 12 on the season. Stearns, Henderson and Milner scooch over on the couch. 2009 looks a little less awful than it really is.

Every Mets fan cheers. One does so a little begrudgingly. But I did cheer. If your biggest problem is a pinch-hit two-run homer from a player who leads the team, then you're probably having a pretty good night.

Also, I had great ribs. Blue Smoke, you lead the league in yum.

***

• Mets Walkoffs examines the 66 Mets who were no threat [8] to hit twelve home runs. These are the fellows who blasted one out and never blasted again, at least not as Mets. (Please note Mets Walkoffs' URL has shifted to http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/ [9] and adjust your bookmarks accordingly — and don't tell me you haven't bookmarked Mets Walkoffs!)

• My thanks to the several individuals who were kind enough to introduce themselves and mention their enjoyment of Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, available via Amazon [10], Barnes & Noble [11] and a fine bookstore near you. (Rob got quite a kick out of my being spotted.) I'm guessing it makes for great October baseball reading since there won't be, for the third consecutive October, much worthwhile baseball-watching.

• You know about the letter the Mets should've sent [12]. A brief quote of mine regarding the one they actually transmitted appears in the weekend edition of amNew York; scroll down to page 3 of this PDF [13].

• Don't let this season end without taking the Faith and Fear readership survey, here [14].